Would you like to take a deep dive with me into the best summer reads? Yes? Well, pour yourself a glass of rosé, turn on Ed Sheeran radio, and let’s go!
Usually, I read all the NYC books but a little beachy vacay inspired this post and is sponsored by my parents. No seriously, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and when my father said he’d like to take my mom somewhere special and would I like to join? I said, “Hellz, yeah!”
Just kidding, I said, “Yes, Papa that sounds lovely!”
We went to Amelia Island in Florida, which inspired me to read all the best summer reads to get me more excited for the trip. Beachy reads, romance, thrillers on islands, Puerto Rico, lakeside homes with cute guys next door…everything you could possibly want for your summer reads.
I’ll share all my favorite summer reads from the recent past and ones that will be released this summer. I will also share lots of pictures from Amelia Island to get you in that beachy spirit.
*Indicates books that were gifted in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I read One True Loves by the same author and loved it so I’ve always wanted to read another of her books. This one did not disappoint and if you’re looking for summer reads, this one perfectly fits the bill. It took me a hot sec to get into it to wrap my head around all the characters, but once I was in, I was all in.
Set in Malibu, 1983, four beautiful, surfing siblings- Nina, Jay, Hudson, and Kit is the story’s heart, especially Nina. However, their parents, mega-famous singer Mick Riva and their mother also with big dreams, June, are central to this story too.
The siblings’ annual end of the summer bash at the Riva mansion is where everyone wants to be, it attracts the hottest people, celebrities, wannabe celebrities, and those who want an epic night to pretend to be someone they’re not just for a night- threesome in a hot tub- of course.
This story follows the siblings but also takes us back in time to learn Mick and June’s story too. This story has heart, it has struggles, and it has strong family bonds…it will frustrate you, and sadden you at times, but you will root for the Rivas. It will also take you to Malibu to feel the sunshine and get a taste of the limelight, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the wildfires.
*A Shoe Story by Jane L. Rosen
Esme has big plans to move with her boyfriend to New York City after graduating college and working at her dream job at a very cool art gallery. Then tragedy strikes and instead she must go back home to take care of her sick father.
Seven years later, Esme gets a second chance to live out her NYC dream, moving to the West Village for a month to dogsit. Dogsitting might not be the swanky art job she wanted but it gives her time. One month experiencing the life she wanted, one day at a time, one fabulous pair of shoes at a time.
Esme forms friendships and meets up with an old flame. It’s finally her chance to figure out the life she wants for herself.
I enjoyed this book the whole way through. I was not expecting the emotion I felt while reading especially in the beginning. I thought it would be a cute story but did not realize the emotional depth it would have.
But as a New Yorker myself, how did she wear all those new shoes so comfortably? I guess her feet were meant for those fabulous shoes. It’s such a fun book to add to your summer reads tbr and I really enjoyed her friendship with Sy.
Releases on June 28th, 2022.
*The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand
Elin Hilderbrand is the Queen of summer reads so I was so excited when I got approved for this book. Admittedly, this book took me more than a minute to get into it but ultimately the cast of characters with their mysterious pasts reeled me in.
Lizbet just suffered a bad breakup with her chef boyfriend which propels her to leave the restaurant she poured her heart and soul into because who wants to work with their ex? No way! A change is needed for Lizbet so she finds herself as the general manager at the Hotel Nantucket.
A hotel with its own shady past that was just sitting collecting cobwebs until billionaire Xavier Darling buys it and restores it to its former glory with shiny new luxurious updates. Grace, the ghost who haunts the hotel is happy to have it inhabited again and is hopeful people will figure out what happened to her so she can finally rest.
Quickly, Lizbet needs to hire a solid crew so they can impress mega-popular hotel reviewer/instagrammar, Shelly Carpenter, and get a coveted 5 keys rating. Lizbet believes in this hotel and will work incredibly hard to get those keys and help the hotel succeed.
There are romances sprinkled in this book, heartwarming connections made, and secrets revealed. Great book to read poolside.
Releases on June 14th, 2022
Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
This book is from a while ago but I love it so much, that I had to include it. It is one of my favorite summer reads of all time. I turned the pages so fast to find out what would happen and highly anticipated the follow-up book, Everything We Left Behind, that came a year later. I devoured that one too but I will admit that I have not read the third book in the series yet.
In Everything We Keep, Aimee has a perfect life, about to marry her fiancé and live happily ever after until he disappears after a boating accident. Instead of their wedding day, she’s at his funeral and it’s here where her doubts about his death spiral beyond her grasp.
While everyone wants her to move on, she can’t shake the feeling that he’s not gone. She can’t let it go and she won’t.
Lots of twists and turns with this one. I was gripped by this book. One of the best summer reads I’ve ever read.
How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days by K.M. Jackson
After all the press Keanu Reeves has gotten lately about what a great guy he is, I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of in love with him now. That’s why the premise of this book seriously excites me. I have not read this one yet though but I plan to remedy that soon.
Lu takes her best friend True on a road trip to go find Keanu and convince him he should be with her instead of getting married. Turns out True has had a crush on Lu for years so as a hopelessly in love guy, he stupidly helps her out in her quest because he’s a great guy.
This sounds awesome- friends to lovers, celebrities, and a fun road trip. I dig it!
*After the Hurricane by Leah Franqui
A complex family drama involving a little mystery and set in Puerto Rico. Elena is tasked with finding her troubled father who has gone missing in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. There’s much to be uncovered especially because he has completely hidden his past from his daughter.
We get dual perspectives from Elena in the present day and going back in history through the eyes of her father, Santiago. We learn what lead him down his path to oblivion.
It’s a complicated story, perhaps slow at times, but I was invested the whole time and the author not only takes Elena to Puerto Rico but the reader as well. I understand Elena’s frustrations with her father but am glad we’re given his side of things as well. This story deals with alcoholism, mental illness, and abandonment so it’s a tough read but told thoughtfully.
Releases July 19th, 2022
Simmer Down by Sarah Smith
This summer read will take us to the shores of Maui to eat up some mouthwatering Filipino dishes that Nikki DeMarco and her mom serve out of their food truck.
One day, British guy Callum James rolls up in his own food truck serving out British fare. The thing is that this chap doesn’t know the unwritten rules of the food truck scene- don’t take someone else’s parking spot! Callum James may be pretty, but when he takes Nikki and her mom’s spot, she’s going to let him know.
Very politely too, it’s probably an innocent mistake but uh oh the hunk is not budging. Oh, it’s on! The rivalry between the two gets intense, definite heat. The only way to end their public spat is by entering the Maui Food Festival and the winner keeps the spot.
Challenge accepted! Will they continue to butt heads or will something other than the cuisine simmer? I love enemies to lovers. Such a fun rom-com. Great setting, great food, and great chemistry between the leads. I loved this one!
Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton and 5 more authors
It’s summer in NYC in the middle of a heatwave and in the middle of a blackout. This is the backdrop for setting the stage to inspire six beautiful romances that take place for six Black teenage couples. This YA book has all the things, it’ll draw you in, it’ll captivate and move you.
This book encompasses six separate short stories that are all interconnected and come together in the end. All the stories are compelling and deal with lost love, new love, and the magic of what can be when you are least expecting it.
I loved this book so much, that I wanted to hold it tight as I read it. I want this book to be turned into a movie. Authors Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon combined their talents to create one of the most charming stories I’ve read in a long time.
Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
I’m a huge fan of Colleen Hoover and have read most of her books so that’s why I can’t wait to read this one too.
Kenna Rowan served five years in prison because of a “tragic mistake.” She returns to the town where it all went down to make amends and reunite with her four-year-old daughter. No one wants anything to do with her.
Thankfully, there is one man willing to give her a chance, a local bar owner, Ledger Ward. However, if anyone finds out about this budding romance, they will risk losing everyone’s trust. Their romance grows but so does the risk.
This one sounds intense and emotional. I cannot wait to read it!
Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins
Who really likes going to a jam-packed beach? We all dream about finding our own piece of paradise that is just ours. Nothing but pure bliss.
Nico and Lux, who are coupled up, are hired by two friends to take them to a deserted island, Meroe Island. At first, it is paradise, they enjoy the sunshine, and food and booze happily supplied by another couple who have also found the island.
Nothing and no one is who they seem to be. They are cut off from civilization and soon sinister stuff starts happening. Who can they really trust out there?
I turned the pages fast in this thriller of a book. It took a while to get going but I enjoyed all the lead-up to the craziness. It might seem a bit far-fetched and unbelievable at the end but suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride. I think thrillers are perfect for summer reads especially when set on a tropical island.
In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer
This rom-com book hooked me from the start with its fabulous meet-cute/disaster scenario for our protagonist, Franny Doyle. Franny was just let go from her design job and has to do the post lost job walk of shame. Franny juggles her box of desk items, wearing one of her favorite work dresses that is loose and perfectly flowy making it just the right kind of dress to get stuck in the closing subway doors.
Oh no! Luckily, a handsome gent, Hayes Mongomery III, is there to lend her a hand and his Gucci suit jacket. And in today’s modern world, of course, someone is nearby to catch all the drama on video. It goes viral, much to Franny’s horror, and they are dubbed #SubwayQTs.
To every rom-com reader’s joy, Franny and Hayes continue to have run-ins. Hayes is the complete opposite of Franny and they couldn’t seem anymore mismatched. But as they spend more time together, maybe love is on the horizon?
I loooooved this book. It is such a fun read and it had me laughing from the start. I also enjoyed Franny’s close friendships and all the bagels I got to eat vicariously through them.
To learn more about this book and the kind of literary date in the city it could inspire, check out my In a New York Minute Literary Date Book Review.
The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
This one is on my bookshelf and I am dying to read it because it sounds like a lot of fun. If I wasn’t moving on to London reads, I would be reading it right now.
Catalina Martin has told a little white lie about having an American boyfriend which apparently gets out of hand. Her sister’s wedding will be held in Spain and she needs a date fast. Got to keep up the lie. I smell a fake relationship trope and I’m excited about it.
Catalina has just the handsome man who surprises her by stepping up because as a colleague he has been nothing but rude to her. Catalina would rather chew on chalk than be around him but she has no choice. Do we smell enemies to lovers too? Maybe this man won’t be as bad as she thinks?
Can’t wait to read it!
Beach Read by Emily Henry
I also read this author’s book People We Meet on Vacation and sadly, I was not a fan of that book at all. However, if you’ve only read that book and felt the same as I did, pick up Beach Read. I could not put this book down and thought it was fantastic.
January Andrews is a rom-com writer who has a major case of writer’s block and she must turn in her next novel by the end of the summer. With no money, she heads to a beach house that has been left to her by her recently deceased father.
Her very close neighbor ends up being none other than her college nemesis, Augustus Everett, who is an acclaimed literary fiction author. Even though she despises him, she agrees to the deal he comes up with, to get them out of their writing funks, he proposes they switch genres.
Augustus will write a romantic, happily ever after story and January will write a more “serious” book like his with no HEA. Challenge accepted.
I loved Beach Read from start to finish. Loved the dialogue between the two and the unexpected emotional depth this book had. Highly recommend.
This book is one of my favorite summer reads. I’m also excited to read this author’s next book, Book Lovers.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
After reading and loving Malibu Rising and One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid, this one is next on my list to read. I would have already read it if my copy had arrived before my beach vacay like I was hoping. I hear this book will be adapted into a film on Netflix.
Monique is an unknown magazine reporter who gets the killer opportunity to interview Evelyn Hugo. Hollywood’s most iconic and reclusive star. Monique learns all about her rise to fame, her ambition, and her seven husbands.
Monique also learns they are connected in “tragic and irreversible ways.”
This book sounds totally compelling, Jenkins Reid knows how to write complex characters that hook the reader.
*Should I Tell You? by Jill Mansell
This is a heartwarming story of a close-knit family brought together by compassionate foster parents, Teddy, and dearly departed, May. Amber, Lachlan, and Raffaele were all taken in as foster kids in the seaside town by Teddy and May and they kept a life-long, unbreakable bond.
After Teddy meets Olga on a cruise and has declared his love alarmingly fast, the trio is ever-protective and concerned for their foster dad thinking Olga could be after his money.
This story follows the perspective of the trio of friends/family, along with a young man who lives in the same seaside town with his wealthy mom, Peggy who is tied closely to Lachlan, a chef extraordinaire.
They navigate life’s challenges, secrets, shame, and love and ultimately it is the love that is the guiding force of this book.
It’s such a sweet story and the third book in this summer reads list that follows multiple POVs, which initially takes me longer to get into but ultimately each character’s story arch pulls at my heartstrings.
Releases July 5th, 2022
*The Close Up by Sarah Smith
This one has my most favorite book boyfriend ever! Simon Rutler is a former camguy turned relationship therapist who oozes sex appeal. Not just because he’s hot but also because he’s the most thoughtful and most respectful man to ever fictionally walk across planet Earth.
Naomi Ellorza-Hays meets Simon after going on a relationship strike. The romance gods deemed that they must work together with Naomi being a documentarian and Simon as her latest assignment. How do I get into this line of work?
Naomi is determined to keep things professional but the chemistry between them is off the charts. I loved this friends-to-lovers rom-com. The sexual tension between the leads and Sarah Smith’s badass writing style combined to create one of my favorite summer reads.
Buy the Book: Amazon
I hope this summer reads list gives you some good ideas for your summer reading. Let me know which ones sound good to you. Have a great summer and happy reading to you!